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  • The American colonies LOSE their struggle for Independence

    I was wondering how the history would have been different if the American colonies had lost their War of Independence in the years 1775-1783?

    Personally, I do not believe that the American colonies could have been subdued. Even if they had lost their struggle (by losing their continental army in a campaign or by being forced to sign a Peace treaty), I believe it would'eve only been a question of time before they would rise again. The ideal moment for the colonies to rise again, would seem to me, to be somewhere early during the Napoleonic Wars. I do not believe that Great Britain, as mighty as it was then, would'eve been able to cope with a war against the French Empire on the continent AND a War for Independence on the other side of the Atlantic. Great Britain would'eve had to choose at this moment: Europe OR America. Which one would Britain have chosen?

    Some might argue: why wouldn't Britain have been able to face a war on two fronts? They did so in 1812... Surely, I agree to that, but the War of 1812 was a complete other ballgame, the colonies already were a "nation" called the United States with a government and an army. Britain had already lost its colonies and the income that it offered. Let's not forget that Great Britain -even in the historical American war of Independence - operated largely dependent on their naval force with only a small amount of landtroops.
    If it would'eve been forced to fight a war on two fronts in the early Napoleonic Wars, it's landforces and naval forces would'eve have seriously been depleted and the money that would'eve have to be spent on supporting the coalitions in Europe and the forces in America would'eve been too much for the treasury...or not?

    And then another thing to consider...the success of the American struggle of Indepence in 1783 can be seen as a spark on the fuse of the powderkeg that would explode into the French Revolution (it certainly raised the morale for the French reformers and would be revolutionaries). Would the failure of the American War of Independence have slowed down the revolutionary spirit in France for let's say another decade ???? Or would the revolution in France have erupted the second struggle for Independence in America after the first one had failed?

    I know I'm giving you all alot to think upon...but I wonder



    Greets,
    Stratego
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

  • #2
    Originally posted by Stratego View Post
    I was wondering how the history would have been different if the American colonies had lost their War of Independence in the years 1775-1783?

    Personally, I do not believe that the American colonies could have been subdued. Even if they had lost their struggle (by losing their continental army in a campaign or by being forced to sign a Peace treaty), I believe it would'eve only been a question of time before they would rise again. The ideal moment for the colonies to rise again, would seem to me, to be somewhere early during the Napoleonic Wars. I do not believe that Great Britain, as mighty as it was then, would'eve been able to cope with a war against the French Empire on the continent AND a War for Independence on the other side of the Atlantic. Great Britain would'eve had to choose at this moment: Europe OR America. Which one would Britain have chosen?

    Some might argue: why wouldn't Britain have been able to face a war on two fronts? They did so in 1812... Surely, I agree to that, but the War of 1812 was a complete other ballgame, the colonies already were a "nation" called the United States with a government and an army. Britain had already lost its colonies and the income that it offered. Let's not forget that Great Britain -even in the historical American war of Independence - operated largely dependent on their naval force with only a small amount of landtroops.
    If it would'eve been forced to fight a war on two fronts in the early Napoleonic Wars, it's landforces and naval forces would'eve have seriously been depleted and the money that would'eve have to be spent on supporting the coalitions in Europe and the forces in America would'eve been too much for the treasury...or not?

    And then another thing to consider...the success of the American struggle of Indepence in 1783 can be seen as a spark on the fuse of the powderkeg that would explode into the French Revolution (it certainly raised the morale for the French reformers and would be revolutionaries). Would the failure of the American War of Independence have slowed down the revolutionary spirit in France for let's say another decade ???? Or would the revolution in France have erupted the second struggle for Independence in America after the first one had failed?

    I know I'm giving you all alot to think upon...but I wonder



    Greets,
    Stratego
    Can America be subdued. Well, in theory yes. Firstly by a compromise prior to the shooting starting.

    Secondly if the French stay out then there is the possibility that the British can either capture or wear down Washingtons army to the point that a negociated peace or surrender is attractive. Remember that for much of the war there was a sizable loyal population that were never really utilised by the British and that in the intial stages independance was a minority view.

    If you have the first option. then the odds are that American developement will follow roughly the lines of Canada expansion west will be slower, relationships with the indians "might" be better, personally I doubt that though, the people on the ground are going west pretty much regardless of what might be decided by London. But it is a possibility.

    If its come to shooting then it depends on the way the war ends. a negociated settlement if amicable might mean that the scenario above is followed. An enforced or punitive peace might, probably will bring on a rebellion later.

    An American defeat and American reactions are going to depend on British behavior during and after the war.

    Its also possible that you could get an American victory after which America gets what it initially wanted representation in parliement and settles down to become a good and happy part of the Empire. But in control of its own affairs. Most unlikley but still possible.

    Theres a lot of variables there. possibly too many to get a clear line as to exactly what the end result would be.as the personal views of the posters are going to be effected by their nationality.
    "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

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    • #3
      A sort of "Canadian" solution/reconciliation (actually the Quebec Act and intelligent governing by James Murray and Guy Carleton) was apparently being groped for by the Howe brothers in 1776. After New York British officers in Howe's army (and, I believe Hessians) specifically believed that to be the case. There was not insignificant opposition in England to George III's intransigence on compromises in 1775-1776.

      I would think any repression of the colonies by the British would have been eventually counterproductive, leading to an increasingly strong continental American power with deep resentments, perhaps after eventual independence leadfing to long-term British/American contention over Canada (to the delight of 19th and 20th Century French and German geopolitics).
      Last edited by Tuor; 22 Jan 10, 09:41.

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      • #4
        England's greatest mistake was that other than through mercantile trade, they pretty much left the American Colonies alone for a hundred years from the early 1600's to the early 1700's. In that time, the colonies started local businesses and a whole melange of heavy and light industries to support the everyday life of the colonies. They came into being, completely independant from the Mother Country. Fortunes were made and everyone had a chance to make something of themselves and a better life. If nothing else, there was free land stretching endlessly to the west, ripe for the taking, if one didn't mind the Indians who already lived there.

        Even the Colonial Governments were granted great freedoms to govern themselves without troubling Britain's Parliament. Once you give people a taste of true freedom and liberty, they will never respond well to the Mother Country tightening the leash around their throat.
        "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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        • #5
          If the urge for independence was so strong, why did the Continental Congress offer the Olive Branch Petition at all? It seems to me that a few ruffians on the pro-independence side were listened to because increasingly the American colonists had no choice other than independence or subjugation.

          As far as I'm concerned the blame for the fracture of the English speaking world lies solely with the British government. Nonetheless, even at the Yorktown campaign, the British could have split the colonies in two, 'liberating' the quite loyal south before turning on the hotbed of rebellion, New England. Bringing the colonists back into the fold could be done, and done before the Napoleonic Era. The simplest way to do this would be a change in government in London, whereby the Whigs or a new Tory government either gave the colonists representation OR more likely recinded the worst of the taxes. Having crushed the rebellion, the issue of whether Britain can tax the colonists or not is now answered one, yes by force of arms. Also the radicals would be thoroughly discredited after victory or more likely dead. Britain though would need more carrot than stick to reapproach. The panic of the French revolution and the Revolutionary armies would probably result in Parliament's attempt to bribe the colonists into acquiesce. I have criticized the mismanagement of the British Empire before, but it did better in practical politics.
          How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
          275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Wolery View Post
            If the urge for independence was so strong, why did the Continental Congress offer the Olive Branch Petition at all? It seems to me that a few ruffians on the pro-independence side were listened to because increasingly the American colonists had no choice other than independence or subjugation.

            As far as I'm concerned the blame for the fracture of the English speaking world lies solely with the British government. Nonetheless, even at the Yorktown campaign, the British could have split the colonies in two, 'liberating' the quite loyal south before turning on the hotbed of rebellion, New England. Bringing the colonists back into the fold could be done, and done before the Napoleonic Era. The simplest way to do this would be a change in government in London, whereby the Whigs or a new Tory government either gave the colonists representation OR more likely recinded the worst of the taxes. Having crushed the rebellion, the issue of whether Britain can tax the colonists or not is now answered one, yes by force of arms. Also the radicals would be thoroughly discredited after victory or more likely dead. Britain though would need more carrot than stick to reapproach. The panic of the French revolution and the Revolutionary armies would probably result in Parliament's attempt to bribe the colonists into acquiesce. I have criticized the mismanagement of the British Empire before, but it did better in practical politics.
            Roughly 1/3 of the population of the 13 colonies was loyal to Englnd. Another third was for independance and a complete split with England, while the other third of the population was undecided.

            Had England initially treated the American rebellion with the seriousness that it deserved and instead, sought to raise Royal Regular Regiments from the large Loyalist population in the colonies, while bringing over sizeable troop reinforcements, especially cavalry regiments, they would have come alot closer to putting down the rebellion, if not succeeding overall.
            "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
              Roughly 1/3 of the population of the 13 colonies was loyal to Englnd. Another third was for independance and a complete split with England, while the other third of the population was undecided.

              Had England initially treated the American rebellion with the seriousness that it deserved and instead, sought to raise Royal Regular Regiments from the large Loyalist population in the colonies, while bringing over sizeable troop reinforcements, especially cavalry regiments, they would have come alot closer to putting down the rebellion, if not succeeding overall.
              I know. The British frelled up the Revolutionary War top to bottom, it's amazing the incompetence. Was your comment in agreeing with me or was there a point that you disagreed with?
              How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
              275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
                Had England initially treated the American rebellion with the seriousness that it deserved and instead, sought to raise Royal Regular Regiments from the large Loyalist population in the colonies, while bringing over sizeable troop reinforcements, especially cavalry regiments, they would have come alot closer to putting down the rebellion, if not succeeding overall.
                All of which would have negated the Imperial war aims. We might as weill speculate on what might have happened if the Germans had treated the Ukraine with courtesy and respect.

                If it had gone down like that, the framers of the Constitution would have been executed years before the Document had been drawn up. No inspiration for the French revolution, no model for the modern republic... probably would have gone straight from Monarchy to Warlord and no path back.

                Britain would have had a better shot at ending the Napoleonic wars sooner with a bigger man=power pool, and the Louisianan Purchase would have been more like theft in wartime.

                After that?
                The US was not greatly involved in the outside world in the 1800s. Take every invention that came from America and set it back at least 2-3 generations- the world would have lost it's best local for the free exchange of ideas, and the place that rewarded enterprise most freely.

                We probably would have eventually become independent in the first half of the 1900s, like Canada. But no melting-pot, no real diversity by that point.

                And the lack of a model for the Modern republic would have had much farther-reaching repercussions.
                Just over 100 years ago, the choices would have been- Monarchy, constitutional Monarchy, Marxism or Socialism (Marxism-light).
                "Why is the Rum gone?"

                -Captain Jack

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                • #9
                  I do not believe that Great Britain, as mighty as it was then, would'eve been able to cope with a war against the French Empire on the continent AND a War for Independence on the other side of the Atlantic. Great Britain would'eve had to choose at this moment: Europe OR America. Which one would Britain have chosen?
                  colised a country so far away from the mother country spells doomed to the empire,you can not empire a empire when youre empire ist so far away,its to hard to control.
                  german empire had the right way,germans coloised countries close by to the german mother country so germans can keep an eye on what ist happening.

                  heres another question,what if the french colised america? would america be independant now,or still under the french?
                  the french did have a great land army,the french could have easly took control over america before americans had a chance to fight for independance,unlike the britisch that handed the colised america to the population.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                    . Nonetheless, even at the Yorktown campaign, the British could have split the colonies in two, 'liberating' the quite loyal south before turning on the hotbed of rebellion
                    Actually, neither. I don't agree or disagree with your comments. I'm just trying to present the actual events and timeline in the manner that they both occurred and could have occurred.

                    Re: your comments on the Yorktown Campaign. I don't believe the British still had the power to split the colonies in two. By that late stage of the game, the war had already been largely decided in the south with the Continentals forcing the British to withdraw to their seaports along the east coast and Cornwallis forced to take refuge at Yorktown with the American Regulars and Irregulars yapping at his heels and the French Army on their way. New York City was occupied by the British, with American forces arrayed against them. Nothing short of a miracle could have retrieved the British military fortunes in America by this late date.
                    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                    • #11
                      If America concedes defeat, as proposed in the orignial post, these are the changes I see.

                      Spanish concessions to the British Empire due to their self-serving, but nonetheless pro-Patriot actions during the war.

                      NO French Revolution. The spreading of seeds of a republic are easier for the monarch to control so the French Revolution does not occur.

                      Napoleon remains an unknown. Absent the revolution that was his springboard he loses his opportunity, hence no Napoleonic Wars.

                      I'm undecided on eventual American independence. That depends solely on how the king and Parliament react to the Revolution. Do they deal harshly with the colonies or do they realize that it is in their long-term interest to grant their fellow British citizens representation in Parliament and/or more power for self-government?

                      Regards,
                      Dennis
                      If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                      Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                        But no melting-pot, no real diversity by that point.
                        I think this is the key point in trying to figure out what would happen to North America - what would the immigration policy be? Would it be similar to Canada and Australia, or something different? Would British North America have been as big a draw to immigrants as the US - would a "streets paved with gold" myth be created?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by D1J1
                          NO French Revolution. The spreading of seeds of a republic are easier for the monarch to control so the French Revolution does not occur.

                          Napoleon remains an unknown. Absent the revolution that was his springboard he loses his opportunity, hence no Napoleonic Wars.
                          I'm suspicious of scenarios that write out an event and/or changes in world history from one event. The American revolution was one, but by far not the only direct and indirect influence on that seminal event. Even without America's influence and the negative effect on French finances there was still general European historical developments (economic, social, and that of the Enlightenment and the philosophs). And might Napoleon's genius well have expressed itself in some other way, military or otherwise?

                          I also wonder whether the growth of nationalism in the 19th Century would have been more then somewhat delayed.
                          Last edited by Tuor; 23 Jan 10, 15:21.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                            I'm suspicious of scenarios that write out an event and/or changes in world history from one event. The American revolution was one, but by far not the only direct and indirect influence on that seminal event. Even without America's influence and the negative effect on French finances there was still general European historical developments (economic, social, and that of the Enlightenment and the philosophs). And might Napoleon's genius well have expressed itself in some other way, military or otherwise?

                            I also wonder whether the growth of nationalism in the 19th Century would have been more then somewhat delayed.
                            Generally speaking, I would agree with you on your first paragraph. However the cause and effect action does make it possible for a change in a cause to preclude an effect. In this case, while as you say our revolution wasn't the only cause, I think it it would preclude the French Revolution. And I should have added, WHEN AND HOW IT OCCURRED.

                            Thanks for making me think and write a little more clearly!

                            I still go with no Napoleon as we know him in history.

                            Regards,
                            Dennis
                            If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                            Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm almost certain that without the French Revolution there wouldn't have been a Napoleon making a blitzcareer and thus no Napoleonic Wars.
                              Although, I'm inclined to believe that with or without the succesful struggle for American Independence the French Revolution would have erupted in 1789. The American struggle of Independence WAS a factor leading to the French Revolution, it was certainly not the only one...

                              Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

                              It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

                              Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                              BORG

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